What was happening around the district five, 10 and 25 years ago this week.
Five years ago
The relics of a popular saint were expected to draw thousands of visitors to Lancaster Cathedral. The remains of St Therese of Lisieux, one of the most popular of modern saints, visited Lancaster as part of a national tour. For 43 hours, the cathedral would be open day and night as pilgrims visited to venerate the relics of the saint, popularly known as the Little Flower. Therese was a Carmelite nun who lived in the small town of Lisieux, Normandy, in the late 19th century. She achieved no fame or popularity during her liftime and died at the age of 24. Exactly a year after her death her writings, which consisted mainly of the story of her life, were published, and such was the demand that millions of copies were soon in print.
Lancaster University was planning to double its number of overseas students in the next five years – boosting funds by more than £1.6 million a year. Plans to bring in an extra 80 undergraduate students a year until 2015 were in line with the university’s current annual growth.
Ten years ago
Greaves Park and Willow Lane nurseries were to close next year, the county council announced. The cabinet considered more than 200 responses to a public consultation, almost all of which opposed closure, before reaching their decision. Both nurseries – each providing 40 full-time nursery places, would close on August 31, 2006. As part of the measures, a new nursery – providing 40 full-time places, plus additional support services for children and parents – would open on the Willow Lane site. A further 26 places would be created at Bowerham Primary School, meaning a net loss of 14 places.
Up to 86 civil service jobs in Lancaster faced the axe. Processing of benefit claims was to be switched from Mitre House in the city to Blackpool and Preston. The move was part of government plans to modernise the Department for Work and Pensions. Nationwide 30,000 jobs were at risk.
Details of a £10 million investment to kick start redevelopment in riverside Lancaster were being finalised. The public sector cash would be used on the Luneside East project, helping to draw in additional major private funding. Overall the scheme, featuring 350 new homes and 80,000 square feet of factories and offices, had been costed at a minimum £31 million.
Lancaster University was to put contingency plans into place as new students arrived to find accommodation unfinished. Phase two of the university residency project was due to handover but it was likely rooms in old student accommodation would have to be used in the short term. The university was confident that all students would be housed, though some would face a move to the new Alexandra Park later in the year.
Twenty-five years ago
After months of anxiety, Sunnyfield School and Sunnyfield Nursery saw some success in their fight for realignment of the first phase of the M6 link where it would meet Morecambe Road. It would mean the nursery, which would originally have been wiped out by a new roundabout, could remain on part of its present site. And that would provide a buffer between the new road and Sunnyfield School, which in the initial plan was to have the roundabout on its doorstep. A slight realignment had been approved by the county transport committee, following meetings with school governors and the nursery owners.
Ambulance staff continued their overtime ban but hospital authorities reported little disruption to local outpatient services with just a few journeys delayed after clinics at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and some physiotherapy sessions cancelled. Emergency cover was maintained in Lancaster and Morecambe as a first priority. At a meeting of the trade unions, county staff refused to send 25 emergency vehicles to the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, which it was said was a “disgraceful depletion of the county’s emergency services”.